NEWS9 October 2012

Report suggests research pumps £3bn into UK economy

Financials UK

UK— The professional research and evidence market delivers up to £3bn a year to the UK economy and might employ as many as 60,000 people, according to a new study by the Market Research Society (MRS) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The findings, published today in The Business of Evidence report, concludes that the traditional definition of ‘market research’ is too narrow to take in all the research work being done in the country today.

“No longer can the industry simply be defined as ‘market research’. Today’s opinion gatherers, researchers, data analysts and educationalists, comprise a tapestry of organisations collectively operating in the ‘business of evidence’,” says the report.

“These are legitimate, sophisticated and contemporary research activities that have up till now been mainly excluded from the definition of market research activities.”

Employment in the UK research and evidence market sits between 53,520 and 58,880 full-time equivalents (FTEs), with the industry’s annual Gross Value Added (GVA) – the value of goods and services excluding external costs – valued at between £2.6bn and £3bn. At the top end, this is 50% more than previously estimated.

PwC says the industry also contributes more than £1bn of export sales annually and, in total, revenues account for around 0.2% of UK GDP, making it comparable in size to the UK newspaper publishing and UK core film industries. It is twice the size of the UK radio industry.

The table below summarises how these findings are split:


Estimated employment (FTEs)

Estimated GVA (£m)

Traditional providers39,6001,806
Other private sector organisations8,800486
Higher education1,100–2,10066–155
Data analytics1,000–1,40075–107
Central government1,000–3,00064–249
Local government870–1,30048–72
Think tanks150–6807–37


53,520 – 58,880

2,607 – 3,022

Jane Frost, CEO of MRS, said: “The size of the market reflects the growing acceptance that reliable evidence is vital to any organisation seeking to make the right decisions – whether for investment, delivery, strategy or policy – and the growing number of ways this evidence can be sourced.

“The review clearly shows the importance of this industry to the UK economy. This is a business that is both creative and one which generates intellectual capital for the country. It is a source of competitive advantage and one which has changed far beyond its traditional definitions. This review makes a clear case for it to be recognised and supported as such.”